Mandarin Orange Salad

This mandarin orange salad, a timeless classic, is a blend of jello, cottage cheese, and cool whip, all brought together by the zesty flavor of mandarin oranges. Easy to whip up and ideal for chilling, it’ll become your go-to recipe for a memorable summer cookout or potluck.

mandarin orange salad in bowl with spoon

This recipe for mandarin orange jello salad is not just any salad. It’s a sweet, refreshing dish that’s reminiscent of childhood Thanksgivings, filled with the juicy goodness of mandarin oranges. It’s like a dessert disguised as a salad, and that’s something we can all get behind. Plus, it only requires four ingredients!

If you’re a fan of the refreshing fruit salads, you’ll also love the sweet and salty strawberry pretzel salad, a perfect balance of flavors. Or, for a blast from the past, try the old-fashioned frozen fruit salad, a classic recipe that never goes out of style.

mandarin orange jello salad recipe card

I found this recipe in my grandma’s recipe box, and I was immediately transported back to her 1960s decor basement, where we had Thanksgiving when I was a kid. She served this at many family gatherings!

Why I Love This Recipe

  • Quick and Easy: This mandarin orange salad recipe is a breeze to whip up. With just a few steps, you’ll have a delicious dish ready in 5 minutes!
  • Classic Flavors: This recipe brings together the classic flavors of cottage cheese and mandarin oranges, creating a nostalgic dish that’s sure to please.
  • Family Favorite: This salad is a hit with both kids and adults alike, making it a family favorite at any gathering.
  • Crowd Pleaser: Whether it’s a potluck, picnic, or a family dinner, this salad is a surefire crowd-pleaser. It’s a dish that everyone will love.
  • Comfort Food: The creamy texture and sweet, tangy flavor of this salad make it the perfect comfort food. It’s a dish that brings warmth and happiness with every bite.
  • Surprisingly Simple: Despite its delicious taste and elegant appearance, this mandarin orange salad is surprisingly simple to make. It’s proof that you don’t need complicated recipes to create amazing dishes.

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Key Ingredients

  • Cottage Cheese: This ingredient adds a creamy texture to the recipe, making it rich and satisfying.
  • Mandarin Oranges: These provide a burst of citrus flavor, adding a refreshing tang to the dish.
  • Orange Jello: This will give the recipe a sweet, fruity flavor and a fun, jiggly texture.
  • Cool Whip: This whipped topping will add a light, fluffy texture and a hint of sweetness to the recipe.

Equipment

  • Blender – You’ll need this to beat the cottage cheese until it’s smooth and creamy. If you don’t have one, a food processor will work just as well.
  • Mixing Bowl – This is where you’ll combine the cool whip, orange jello, and drained mandarin oranges. Make sure it’s large enough to hold all the ingredients.
  • Spatula – You’ll use this to fold the mixture into your dish. It’s also handy for scraping down the sides of the bowl to ensure everything is well mixed.

How to Make Mandarin Orange Salad

Preparation

Begin by draining the mandarin oranges and setting them aside. You’ll also need to have your blender or hand mixer ready for the next steps.

orange salad ingredient of cottage cheese

Step 1 – Blend the Cottage Cheese

Place the cottage cheese in your blender or a large bowl. Blend on high or beat on high with a hand mixer until it becomes smooth and creamy. This is the base for your salad and will give it a rich, velvety texture.

Step 2 – Add the Remaining Ingredients

Next, add the cool whip and jello to the blender. Also, include the drained mandarin oranges. Mix these ingredients well until they are fully combined.

orange jello salad in bowl

Step 3 – Transfer and Chill

Once your mixture is ready, fold it into your chosen dish. This could be a salad bowl or a decorative mold if you’re serving it at a special event. After transferring the mixture, chill it in the refrigerator for one hour before serving. This will help the salad to set and enhance its flavors.

orange fluff salad in bowl

Expert Tips

If you want a very smooth texture you will want to use a blender. If you like a little more texture then use the hand mixer. The most important step for a smooth texture is to blend the cottage cheese until smooth. This step will make a significant difference in the final texture of your salad.

Recipe Variations

  • Add More Mandarin Oranges: If you love mandarin oranges, double the number of cans you put into this recipe!  I love it when there are lots of mandarin oranges in my orange salad.
  • Different Jello: Instead of orange jello, experiment with different flavored jellos like strawberry or lime to add a twist to your salad.
  • Creamy Variation: Swap the cool whip with Greek yogurt for a tangy, creamy texture.
  • Add Other Fruits: Toss in some fresh strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, pears, dried cranberries, or crushed pineapple for an extra burst of flavor and color.
  • Toppings: You can also add different toppings, such as mini marshmallows or chopped walnuts, for a delicious salad for Christmas or Thanksgiving.
  • Different Cheese: Try using ricotta instead of cottage cheese for a richer, creamier salad.

What to Serve With

  • Hosting a brunch? This salad can be a unique addition to your spread. Pair it with classic brunch items like scrambled eggs and bacon for a burst of freshness.
  • This mandarin orange salad also makes a great snack. Just scoop it into a bowl and enjoy it on its own or with a side of crispy crackers for a quick, tasty treat.
  • For a refreshing summer lunch, pair this salad with a grilled chicken sandwich. The creamy, citrusy salad complements the savory chicken perfectly, making for a satisfying meal.

Recipe FAQs

What type of cottage cheese should I use for the mandarin orange salad?

You can use any type of cottage cheese for this recipe. However, full-fat cottage cheese will give the salad a richer and creamier texture.

Can I use fresh mandarin oranges instead of canned ones?

Yes, you can use fresh mandarin oranges. Just make sure to peel and segment them before adding to the salad. However, canned mandarin oranges are usually softer and blend well with the other ingredients.

How do I make the orange jello for the salad?

You don’t need to prepare the jello separately for this recipe. Simply add the orange jello powder to the cottage cheese and cool whip mixture. It will set as the salad chills.

Can I substitute Cool Whip with something else?

Yes, if you don’t have a cool whip, you can use whipped cream as a substitute. It will give the salad a similar light and fluffy texture.

Storing and Reheating

  • Refrigerate: After enjoying your mandarin orange salad, you can store the leftovers in an airtight sealed container in the fridge. They should stay fresh for up to 3 days.
  • Freezing: Unfortunately, this salad doesn’t freeze well due to the creamy nature of the ingredients. Freezing can cause these ingredients to change in texture and consistency.

Serving Size

  • What to Expect: This mandarin orange salad recipe yields a refreshing dessert enough for 12 servings.
  • How to Scale: If you desire to serve more than eight, you can double the recipe and follow the instructions as directed. Ensure you have a large enough bowl to mix all the ingredients properly.

Mandarin Orange Salad Recipe Video

mandarin orange salad in bowl with spoon
Created by: Lynette Rice

Mandarin Orange Salad


Course Salad
Cuisine North American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Cooling Time 1 Hour
Servings 12
12
This mandarin orange salad is easy to whip up and will become your go-to recipe for a memorable summer cookout or potluck.

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pint cottage cheese
  • 11 oz mandarin oranges drained
  • 6 oz orange jello
  • 9 oz Cool Whip thawed

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, beat the cottage cheese in a blender or with a hand mixer until smooth and creamy and your desired texture.
  • Add cool whip, and jello, and drain oranges. Blend or mix on low until well incorporated.
  • Place salad in covered dish and chill for one hour before serving.

Notes

Expert Tip for Smoother Texture: If you want a very smooth texture you will want to use a blender. If you like a little more texture then use the hand mixer. The most important step for a smooth texture is to blend the cottage cheese until smooth. This step will make a significant difference in the final texture of your salad.
Refrigerate: After enjoying your mandarin orange salad, you can store the leftovers in an airtight sealed container in the fridge. They should stay fresh for up to 3 days.
Freezing: Unfortunately, this salad doesn’t freeze well due to the creamy nature of the ingredients. Freezing can cause these ingredients to change in texture and consistency.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Cup | Calories: 134kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 207mg | Potassium: 100mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 433IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 0.1mg

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Recipe Rating




10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    mom always made this during the holidays, she passed 7/20/23…

    I am trying to find the recipes for her food but its very hard to find there are so many all bunched together.

    This brings back fond memeories…

    Thank you
    c. w

    1. Lynette Rice says:

      I love when someone finds a recipe they have been searching for! 🙂

  2. Mary C McGeean says:

    This sounds delicious! Do you use instant Jell-O or the cook and serve?

  3. Trena Parks says:

    I love all kinds of orange salads and I use mandarin oranges, cool whip, cottage cheese and crushed pineapple. But, it makes way more than I can eat. Can it be frozen? Thanks,

    1. I’ve never frozen it – but I think this recipe would freeze well and be unique!

  4. Pam Benjegerdes says:

    My mom’s salad includes the addition of crushed pineapple & marshmallows, but we did not blend the cottage cheese. I love this salad, but my kids don’t like the texture of cottage cheese, so can’t wait to try blending it and see if they will eat some.

    1. I can see how crushed pineapple would be delicious with this as well!

  5. Amy Schmelzer says:

    We used to eat a lot of these gelatin or pudding mix salads when I was a kid. I think we made the orange one with cream cheese rather than cottage cheese though. Marshmallows were a must, too. My sister loved the green salad (Watergate), so that’s what we had most often, but I also remember a red one at potlucks that was yummy.

    1. Yes! There was jell-o in everything when I was a kid and I’m finding more evidence of it as I discover more recipes in my grandma’s recipe box.